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Ava is 33 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is still very committed to being a kitty.  Her nanny fashioned a tail out of a bow tie and it was a necessity for the next week.  Then Ava remembered that last Halloween I had made whiskers for her and she asked for them again.
  • One night when we were putting Ava to bed, Jon was going through this meditation technique with Ava where you shut off different body parts.  You start with the feet and move up the body until all the body parts are shut off and the person falls asleep.  When Jon told Ava that he was shutting off her hands, she yelled, “No, those are my paws!”
  • Sometimes people think we named Ava Kitty because we call her that.  I assure them it’s all at her insistence.

Kitty and her tail

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Foods and Liquids

  • Ava is still being a bit random about the foods she likes and dislikes.  Lentils and mushrooms are a safe bet.  Also, bread with butter, although she strongly prefers the butter over the bread.

Sleep

  • It’s still hard to get Ava to fall asleep quickly without milk as a crutch.
  • Ava hardly ever takes a nap during the week and she even forfeits her nap sometimes on the weekends.  It’s easier when she doesn’t nap because it means the difference between a 9pm bedtime or a 10-11pm bedtime.
  • Ava has been having vivid dreams about animals.  She’s woken up convinced that Teddy was in the bed, asking about birdies, looking for horses, thinking that the bed was filled with spiders, and that her hair was covered in ants.

Kitty loves the rain

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Language Skills

  • Ava is a constant chatterbox.  She has a lot of complex thoughts and she always wants to know what other people (or animals) are saying.
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  • If there’s ever conflict in a tv show, Ava demands that it be turned off.  She sometimes uses the same term for real life, like if she doesn’t like what you’re doing she’ll say “Turn it off.”
  • Sometimes Ava will say, “I don’t like that, it turns my feelings.”  Also, “That makes me sad and grumpy.”
  • Jon noticed that Ava often narrates her life as if she’s ready a story.  She’ll say, “Kitty doesn’t like that.”   Or, “Kitty says, ‘meow, meow, meow.'”  She tells you about events that happened to her, but she amps up the drama.  “I fell in a puddle and I got hurt.  I cried, and Linda cried, and mommy cried, and daddy cried, and PEOPLE cried.  The end.”
  • When Ava gets upset about something, we often say “That’s okay.”  So when Ava started doing things she shouldn’t, like climbing on the bench for the dining room table, I would tell her not to and she would say “That’s okay” and keep doing it.

Ava Is 32 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava is doing really well with potty training.  She can stay dry for most of the day if I’m good about getting her on the potty every few hours.  She even went diaperless for a few hours tonight and it went well!
  • We had some furniture delivered and the delivery men allowed Ava to explore their truck.  They even let her push the horn.

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Foods and Liquids

  • Ava’s food is confusing this month.  She refused to eat a calzone, but she will eat her weight in lentils.

Sleep

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  • Ava no longer prefers her bed.
  • We upgraded to a king-sized bed so now all three of us sleep in the same bed!
  • Ava threw up in the bed last week so we decided to stop giving her unlimited amounts of milk at night.  I should have stopped her from drinking milk at night awhile ago since she doesn’t actually need the milk.  But I didn’t want the struggle.  It’s been taking a lot longer for Ava to fall asleep now.  I really hope she learns to fall asleep without milk soon.

Language Skills

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  • Ava is obsessed with this song about a mommy duck that loses all its babies but they come back in the end.  Ava modifies the song to express any disappointment now.  She sings some variation of “Sad little kitty went out one day, over the hills and far away.  Sad little kitty said ‘meow meow meow’ and no baby kitties came back back back.”  It’s very melodramatic and makes you want to roll your eyes and laugh at the same time.

2016 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

I went to visit a client in New Jersey.  It was not particularly exciting.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last Year

(1) Lose Weight 

FitBit says I’m at the same weight now that I was last year.  However, I gained five pounds after the Hawaii vacation due to eating every fish burrito in sight.  I’m okay with that, though, because next year I’m going to lose a ton of weight.  Last May I started going to barre because I would get completely exhausted after a weekend with Ava, which is ridiculous.  Not only did I get my energy back, but I have serious muscles now and I’ve stopped throwing my back out every week.

Since starting barre last May, I had only thrown my back out once.  But with vacation and the holidays I went two weeks with only one class.  And guess what?  I threw my back out worse than it’s ever been.  And the thing that fixed it was going to more barre classes.  So I’m newly committed to going to barre three times a week.

(2) Avoid having to toss any produce from our CSA

I did a decent job of this.  I got a little obsessed with using all the produce, though, and instead of opening up new meals by giving me exotic produce, it wound up limiting me because I had to stick to using the produce instead of trying new recipes with ingredients that weren’t in the CSA.  The CSA was a bit too focused on including either collard greens or swiss chard every week, and there are only so many recipes in the world for collard greens and swiss chard.  I will say, though, that I can now add to my list of skills, the ability to consume six pounds of cabbage in a single week.

(3) Make time to get a personal trainer or take bootcamp classes

I didn’t do this at all, but barre is even more satisfying.  I wanted to find an exercise that was varied enough to keep me interested.  Barre is great because there are different instructors and each instructor changes the routine every 1-2 weeks.

Next Year

(1) Improve Health

(a) Lose Weight

I’d like to lose 20 pounds next year and I think that’s very doable.  I take three barre classes a week and I’m getting better with eating healthier foods.  As I get older, crappy foods make me sick.  One bite of cheap chocolate gives me a horrific headache.  So I make more foods at home, which means the food is much healthier.

(b) Develop More Muscles

Barre was great this year for helping me develop more stomach muscles.  After having Ava, I had ruined my abs so at the beginning of doing barre I couldn’t even do the exercises.  Eventually, I could do the exercises, but not very well.  This year my goal is to be able to do all the exercises while maintaining proper form.

(2) Get Control of My Work

I’ve spent the past year being constantly behind with my workload and I hate it.  Before I had Ava, I could fix it by working through a weekend and working more during the weekdays.  Now I have to fix the problem by refusing assignments, which is hard for me.

(3) Organize the House

I cook at a hobby.  As a result, my kitchen is a mess of spices and cookware.  I’m hoping this year that I can organize the kitchen and take back the countertops.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

None.  We’re thinking of remedying that this year.  Ava did so amazing on the trip to Hawaii that I’m more open to flying with her.  She was so excited about being on the airplane.  On the trip out to Hawaii, we took a seven-hour flight from SLC to Honolulu and then a flight from Honolulu to Kauai.  After the second flight Ava asked if we were going on another airplane right.  The flights back were even better because the one from Honolulu to SLC was a red-eye and Ava slept almost the entire time.  I’m considering a trip to Vancouver for summer vacation.

Also, I like to track which parts of the country I went to, which was: Alexandria, VA; New Jersey; Palo Alto, CA; Portland, OR; and Hawaii.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

I want everything to be less stressful.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

November 8th was pretty memorable since I went from being confident about having the first female president, to worried, to so concerned that I went to bed hoping a miracle would happen overnight.  Since then I’ve been avoiding most political things on Facebook and trying to keep my news limited to mostly the Wall Street Journal and a little NY Times.  I skip over anything political on Twitter because that place is a cesspool of anxiety if you read the political tweets.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I have muscles in my arms that I’ve never had before.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Little things everyday that sometimes snowball into feeling like a complete failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I finally bought some comfortable lounge clothing.  Since I work from home, why not wear yoga pants and tunics?

12. Where did most of your money go?

The mortgage.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Ava’s progression has been amazing.  She went from knowing distinct words, to stringing together sentences, to providing detailed stories about her animals.

14. What songs will always remind you of 2016?

Masterpiece by Big Thief.  This is one of Ava’s favorite songs and she has excellent taste.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? Happier.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner.
– richer or poorer? Richer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Read.  I only read a few books last year and it’s a nice time for me to do exactly what I want.  But it’s always a competition between reading and sleep, and sleep has to win out.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Struggle.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Nice relaxing day.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Life in Pieces is hilarious.  Funny story, when we started watching it I pointed to one of the actors and told Jon, “He looks like he could be Tom Hanks’ son.”  Guess what?!  His name is Colin Hanks.  I was confused because I only knew about the racist son.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I can’t actually recommend a lot of what I read last year because they were parenting books.  The two books I really enjoyed were:

(2) Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop.  I found that I really enjoy memoirs by chefs.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?


I really like Big Thief.  But mostly I spent the year listening to my playlist of music and music Spotify thought I might like.  I listened to a lot of Dinosaur Jr.  I’m trying to narrow down my playlist since it’s 1,800 songs.  I’m finally over my 90’s obsession.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I’m…not sure I watched a single movie this year.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 36.  It wasn’t memorable.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I need to find an amazing life-changing book.  I’ve been reading decent books for the last year, but in 2015 I read books that changed me as a person.  I’d like to find that again.

25. What kept you sane?

Coffee.

 

 

 

Ava and Hawaii Beaches

Kauai has a lot of beaches and Ava loves them all.  She categorized the waves as baby waves, mommy waves, and daddy waves.  Ava was a huge fan of the daddy waves.  She also repeatedly asked to go into the deep water.

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Ava loved the feeling of the strong waves that would explode over the front of her and the undertow that would try to drag her feet into the ocean.  Weeks later Ava is still talking about the ocean.  She asks, “What does the ocean say?”  And then she answers for the ocean: “Ava come in me, come in me.”  She loves it when we say, the ocean wants you to come in so it can kiss your toes.

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The beaches with baby waves were nice, though, because Ava could explore the water without us maintaining a death grip on her the whole time.  We stayed down the street from one amazing beach where the water was never deeper than my knee due to all the rocks.  Ava loved playing in the water and studying the ocean life.  They had little hermit crabs that were 1/4 of the size of a dime.

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I think the mommy waves the best, though.  With the intense waves, we only let the water get up to Ava’s knees so that we could always be in control.  With the baby waves, there were only so many activities available.  The medium waves were the best because I could take Ava much deeper.  Ava was comfortable enough that she did some swimming on her back, which I’ve been trying to get her to do in the bathtub unsuccessfully for years.  Plus, the beach with the medium waves is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to.

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Hawaii

In the year since we went to Hawaii, my brain made parts of Kauai into my happy place.  I would be writing a patent application and a picture of the trees on this one road would appear in my mind.  You feel like you’re driving through a jungle because the trees on each side of the road reach up and meet in the sky.  I would be taking out the trash, and an image of the beach would flash before my eyes.  I was never conjuring the images, they just appeared.  So it’s good that we went back again.

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I took some pictures last year that I repeated this year to have a year-by-year comparison.  Look how much Ava has grown!  Don’t tell her, though.  She still emphasizes how much she’s a little tiny baby.

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I also re-enacted the photo where Ava talks on the Westernmost-telephone in the United States.

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I’m not sure whether Ava enjoyed the beaches or the chickens more.  Ava would see the water and ask what it was saying.  We had a routine where she’d ask, and we’d say the ocean says, “Ava come in me, come in me, so I can kiss your toes.”  But with the chickens, she would chase them around and she learned to yell “Chicken fight!” when they started fighting.  I think the water still wins out, though.

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Ava is 31 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Potty training is going better again.  Ava usually stays dry all night and I can get her to use the potty in the morning more often than not.
  • Ava has been having increasingly complicated play.  She loves drama and she wants upsetting things to happen, such as her baby bird flying too high and needing to be rescued by mommy bird.
  • Jon has been having newspapers delivered to the house to serve as a model for Ava.  In the morning, she’s been asking Jon to read from the newspaper.  Soon she’ll be recommending stock purchases to us.

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Foods and Liquids

  • I’m so pleased with how Ava has been eating.  Last week, for example, she ate mushrooms, eggplant, cabbage, and spinach.  Ava is more willing to try food with different flavors.  She still doesn’t like spicy food, but she’ll eat food with plenty of garlic and ginger flavors.

Sleep

  • We’re still taking rides to get Ava to sleep Friday through Sunday night.  On Monday she rarely naps so it’s easy to get her to sleep.
  • Ava has been asking to fall asleep in her bed, but she usually wakes up after an hour or two and I transfer her to my bed.  Still, I hope that she will someday want to stay there longer.

Language Skills

  • Ava has been saying cute things.  The other day I came out of my office and she said, “Mommy, I’m going to story time.  You can’t come.”
  • Ava has been experimenting with sentence structure, like using him and myself.  She’ll say “What him doing?”  and “I’m itching myself!”
  • She’s got a dark side to her.  Ava and Jon play a game where they cut stuffed animals open and perform surgery on them.  So Ava grabbed her toy robot and said, “Bee boo bopbop, I cut you!”
  • She’s using more sophisticated words lately, like “attack.”
  • Ava has been substituting words in songs.  Like instead of “My Bonnie lies over the ocean,” she sings “My mommy lies over the ocean.”  She also makes up songs about her favorite things, like kitties and puffins.

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Hoggle Zoo

I learned last week that you should never use the word zoo around Ava unless you’re ready to go to the zoo right this minute.  I asked Ava if she wanted to go to the zoo last Sunday and she kept asking about it every five minutes for the next hour.  I think she likes the zoo.

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The zoo has a train that goes through about half of the property and Ava did her usual thing of saying goodbye to all the animals.  She also feels that the train is too loud.

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I think she liked the zebras the most.  But the ostriches and the donkeys were pretty exciting too.

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Ava was most obsessed with the carousel.  We had to go three times because she wanted to sit in the peacock chair.  She was very serious about the process the whole time.  When she concentrates, she almost looks upset.  I remember feeling like people wouldn’t take me serious when I was little and were often telling me to smile.  So I try to respect Ava’s seriousness.

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It’s funny how big the zoo seems when you’re visiting with a toddler.  We went right after lunch until Ava clearly needed a nap.  But Ava was devastated when we were leaving because she wanted to see the “fishies” so after her nap we went back to look at the fishes!  Ava really liked this fish below because “He’s a mad fish.  He doesn’t like me.”

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After the aquarium Ava chased magpies, hoping she could catch one.

Love Trumps Hate

I have been disappointed in elections before.  When we moved to San Francisco in 2007, the following year they passed Proposition 8.  I was so disappointed to live in a state where a majority of the voters believed that marriage was only between a man and a woman.  But man, that election was nothing compared to the devastation I’ve felt in a country that elected Donald Trump as President.  I can’t stop crying every time I think about it.

 

I’m trying to take solace in the fact that there were many reasons people voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, including a reaction out of economic insecurity.  I’m trying to ignore the fact that we elected a man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, a man who thinks Mexicans are rapists, who wants Mexico to pay for a fucking wall to keep out Mexicans, who thinks that Muslims should be banned from entering this country.  That people have such disdain for Hillary Clinton that they’d rather elect a man who has never held office, a man who is a business failure, a man whose said on national television that his only hope for his daughter was that she develop the same huge breasts that her mother has.  The list goes on and on.

 

 

I don’t have a great hopeful conclusion, I’m still at a loss of what to do.  My greatest hope is that Trump creates so much in-fighting among Republicans that nothing gets accomplished.  I’ve never felt a stronger desire to move to the most liberal place we can find.  If you have any ideas, leave it in the comments!

Ava is 2.5 Years Old

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Ava does not want to grow up.  She’d probably be unhappy to know that she’s 2.5 years old.  The other day she was on her swing and I told her she was so big that she was growing out of the swing.  Ava said, “No!  I tiny!”  Since then she’s gotten very upset if you call her a big girl or in any way imply that she’s anything but tiny.

Independence/Motor Skills

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  • Ava is totally fearless.  We went to a playground at the zoo last weekend and Ava went on all the slides and climbed up this huge rock structure.  I had to climb the rocks myself because I was scared she was going to dive off.
  • Ava is regressing when it comes to potty training.  She refuses to use the potty in the morning, and she will hide from me when she’s pooping because she knows I’ll push for her to use her potty.  I don’t understand it, but Ava is a willful girl and pushing the issue would probably make things worse.
  • Ava’s taken her play to the next level – she wants you to play with her now.  Ava really enjoys acting out scenarios with her stuffed animals.  Since everything is always about a mommy and a baby, her play is about a mommy rescuing a baby.

Foods and Liquids

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  • Food is the same.  When I’m making a dessert, Ava will come running asking to try some.

Sleep

  • Four days a week we’ve been driving Ava in the car at night to get her to fall asleep.  It helps her fall asleep earlier and it’s nice for variety.
  • But the best change has been daylight savings.  Ava has been falling asleep by 9pm, which is waaay better than 10pm.  It means she gets up at 7am instead of 8am, which is hard for me, but it’s also great because I can get stuff done before the nanny comes.

Language Skills

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  • I love all the little stories that come from having a verbal child.  Ava is such a delight.
  • We had a repairman at the house to fix our washer and Ava was so curious about him.  She kept trying to tell him about her little ducky.  I was talking to the repairman so Ava came up with a feather and asked me to clean the ducky.  When I said she could do it herself, she said “No, mommy, you do it better.”
  • Ava has been telling these long stories that are somewhat hard to track but they’re pretty involved.  Sometimes they’re about how Teddy made her fall and she got a big bump (which happened last month, and other than a small cut on her lip was not a big deal), and Ava ends the story “The end!”
    • Ava really enjoys injecting drama into her retelling.  When I ask her what she did with her nanny during the day or even what she did the hour with Jon while I was exercising Ava will tell me what happened, but she likes to add “And I got hurt!” so I will be concerned and give her kisses.
  • When Ava would sit on the potty, she developed a habit of saying “Oh doh, oh no, oh yes” where I was supposed to repeat each part.  The way she said it reminded me of the lyrics from “The Man Who Sold the World,” where Kurt Cobain (or David Bowie if you’re old school) would sing “Oh no, not me…”  So when Ava would start with “Oh doh” I would sing “Oh no, not me, we never lost control, you’re face to face with the man who sold the world.”  Now Ava will sing that whole clip when she’s on the potty.
  • Ava’s play has been increasingly more complicated.  She plays long games with her animals, which must always be paired with at least a mommy and a baby, and preferably also with a daddy.  She creates voices for the animals.  There’s often a complicated cover routine.  At night Ava likes to sit in my lap on a chair while Jon covers us in blankets and animals.  Ava especially loves it when Jon throws the animals on us.
  • When Ava is in the sun she says very dramatically, “The sun is burning my eyes!”  Jon hates sunlight too, so we’re very sympathetic.
  • Ava likes to take a pen and make little dots and dashes on paper while yelling, “It’s raining!”
  • The other day Ava declared that her dinosaur was sick and needed to go to the doctor.  She pulled out one of her magnet sticks and pretended it was a syringe that she used to give the dinosaur a shot.

Halloween

Ava is a big fan of Halloween.  She takes her costume very seriously.

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She is also a huge fan of candy.  When we went to the first house, Ava didn’t quite understand what was supposed to happen.  But as soon as the first piece of candy plunked in her bucket, she realized there was candy and she could eat it.  Each time we visited a new house she wanted to try the new piece of candy.

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Ava was pretty good with saying “Trick or treat” when seeing a person and “thank you” after getting the candy.  One problem, though, is that she kept trying to walk inside peoples’ houses.   She actually went into one house and sat down in a kid’s chair they had set up in their foyer.  Fortunately we only visited houses on our street so most people knew her and everyone was nice about it.

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Although Ava had a ton of candy on Halloween, we haven’t given her any since and she hasn’t asked.  Don’t anyone tell her that we still have her candy!

 

 

 

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